As we move closer to a new decade, the amount of technology we use in our everyday lives is only increasing. The lights in our homes can be turned on just by asking Alexa. Running low on milk or eggs? Not to worry – smart refrigerators can see what’s in there and help you put together a shopping list. The world is literally in our pocket with mobile devices that connect us to just about anything we need.

When it comes to managing our finances, technology comes through again with a multitude of ways to view our account balances, transfer money, deposit checks, and control plastic card activity without ever setting foot in a branch. The convenience of electronic banking also comes with it a risk of potential fraud such as falling victim to scams, and/or identity theft. Here at VLFCU, we take member data security seriously – especially when it comes to electronic banking.

Even with the automated security monitoring and safeguards in place that you don’t see, there are steps we, as end-users, can follow to keep our sensitive data safe.

Password Security. One of the simplest actions you can take to keeping your information safe is keeping your passwords safe. There are many apps you can use on your mobile device that securely store passwords. Use a strong password for online site access that includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Beware of Phishing Scams. Have you ever received an email saying you have won a large sum of money from a contest? These are almost always a type of phishing scam where someone is trying to obtain sensitive information from you. Never click on links, open files you receive, or respond to any electronic message you receive and are unsure of.

Social Networking. Many of us use social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share what is going on in our lives with friends and family. Keep in mind what you share could potentially allow an identity thief to learn enough about you to potentially access your personal information. You should never post information such as your social security number, phone number, home address, etc. where anyone can see it. Also, limit the audience of your social networking to just friends and family.

Old Technology. We always look forward to getting that new smartphone, tablet, computer, and smart TV. Most of us have a collection of old technology laying around the house gathering dust. Before you decide to discard these items, make sure you clear off any personal data first. Remove memory cards and SIM cards from mobile devices. Once you have cleared your electronic devices of personal information, click here to visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website for information regarding device recycling.

These are just a few ways you can keep your personal information safe. For further reading, click here to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website to learn more about online security.